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Whoops, I Accidentally Used a Photo of Donald Trump in this Blog Post on Richard III

Hum de dum. Not paying any attention to current events at all, just thinking about possibly teaching Richard III in my Shakespeare class this fall. Oh, look, Dwight Goodyear posted commentary on Agnes Heller’s book The Time is Out of Joint: Shakespeare as Philosopher of History. How interesting. You know, to those of us who care about Richard III. Stage 1: The would-be tyrant must become an actor, a dissembler, who spreads…

No, the AHCA Doesn’t Make Rape a Preexisting Condition

A Republican Facebook friend posted a link to this article, which acknowledges that there’s plenty to dislike about Trumpcare, but challenges the truth behind some of the statements that are driving online outrage. Remember the Trump administration’s strategy — do something that invokes outrage, pounce and call it “fake news” as soon as someone exaggerates or makes a mistake in reporting on the outrage, and while everyone is distracted, do…

The Media Bubble is Real — And Worse Than You Think

In the early 20th century, print journalists often identified with the working class. Small newspapers were created by and read by people who live and often grew up in the same area. Online jobs tend to clump around big cities, meaning that reporters increasingly live in a media bubble that isolates them from the life experiences of Americans who live outside the big cities. This article doesn’t romanticize rural conservatives,…

Boston Herald Guild Members Boycotting Twitter After Reporter Suspended

Members of the Herald’s editorial guild are boycotting Twitter this week after reporter Chris Villani was suspended without pay for three days for violating the company’s social media policy. Villani’s misstep? An April 20 tweet stating, “The notes found in #AaronHernandez cell were letters to his daughter & fiancee, saying he loved them & would see them in heaven, per source.” It was a legitimate scoop in the highly competitive national…

Dozens of Colleges’ Upward Bound Applications Are Denied for Failing to Dot Every I

I’m not saying that the Upward Bound kids deserved to be punished because application writers didn’t follow formatting instructions. I am saying that formatting matters. When your professors put “formatting” on the rubric, they aren’t simply trying to make your life difficult. For the want of double spacing in a small section of a 65-page grant application, 109 low-income high-school students will be cut off from a program at Wittenberg…

The Religious Origins of Fake News and “Alternative Facts”

A good exploration, in the light of current interest in “fake news,” of the troubled relationship between conservative Christianity’s understanding of truth and secular experts’ understanding of facts. (Mainstream Protestantism and Catholicism have negotiated this difference much more smoothly.) But it wasn’t Christianity, or religious faith itself in general, that helped make Republican voters more likely to be duped by fake news than their Democratic compatriots. (There were, and continue to…